I did not intend to venture down this alley, but now that I have given it some thought …
Donald Trump’s announcement of the death of Islamic State mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi contained language that seemed, well, more than a bit over the top.
Delta Force special operations commandos launched a raid overnight that resulted in al-Baghdadi’s death. The commander in chief tweeted a message about “something really big” happening and then this morning went on TV to tell the world that al-Baghdadi is dead.
However, the president went much farther than merely telling us about the bravery and precision of our special forces. He talked about how al-Baghdadi “died like a dog,” how he was a “coward,” how he was whimpering and sobbing before he detonated the suicide vest strapped to his body.
So I am left to wonder: Why did Donald Trump feel the need to prance and preen over the death of a monster? Why did he spike the proverbial football and seemingly gloat over the mission he authorized?
According to Time.com: Trump was doing more than running down an adversary; he was actively trying to break the spell al-Baghdadi holds over his followers, says a White House official. “He felt it was important to mock this guy,” the official says, adding that Trump wanted to “rub in everybody’s face that this guy was killing and ordering rape of thousands of people and at the end of the day blew himself up with his three kids rather than fight.”
Make no mistake. I applaud the decision to launch the mission. The president could have chosen other options that carried less risk to our special forces. He chose instead to rely on the extraordinary skill of our soldiers who carried out the mission with extraordinary precision and professionalism.
I am thinking at this moment of the evening of May 1, 2011 when President Barack Obama told the world of the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He spoke for about 9 minutes. He told us bin Laden was dead; he hailed the men who conducted the mission; he heaped praise on our intelligence team that toiled for many years over two administrations to find bin Laden; he offered words of comfort to the friends and loved ones of the 3,000 people who died on 9/11. He asked for God’s blessing on the United States of America and then walked away from the microphone.
Trump didn’t do that this morning. He went into extraordinary detail about what he perceived about al-Baghdadi’s final moments on Earth.
The president seemed — if you’ll pardon my use of the term — to “glorify” the circumstances of al-Baghdadi’s death.
It was unbecoming. It was, oh, let’s see, so very un-presidential.